Minutes of 3 May 2012 - Central Scotland Regional Forestry Forum
Simon Rennie, Chair
Linda McKay (Secretary)
Keith Wishart, FC Scotland
Jo Ellis, Policy Adviser Climate Change and Land Use, FCS
Richard Howe, FCS
INTRODUCTIONS AND APOLOGIES
Simon Rennie welcomed everyone to the meeting. He introduced Jo Ellis who would be covering agenda item no 4.0 and explained that the theme of this meeting would be Woodland Creation.
Simon advised that Richard Howe would join the meeting later to cover agenda item number 6.0.
Apologies were received from Karen Moore and Chris Norman.
- MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
- The minutes of the previous meeting on 25 October 2011 were accepted as an accurate record with no amendments.
- MATTERS ARISING
- Para 21. Robin confirmed that he had met with Stuart Chalmers and this had been productive.
- Para 46. Keith explained that Forestry & Woodland Strategies for Fife, Edinburgh & Lothians, Glasgow & Clyde Valley and Ayrshire & Arran were at or near final draft stage. The Central Scotland Forestry Strategy was also being updated. He said that formal launches were planned during 2012 and early 2013 and explained that these would aim to raise the profile of these documents.
UPDATE ON WORK OF THE WOODLAND EXPANSION ADVISORY GROUP (WEAG)
- Jo provided some background as to her role and explained the WEAG’s remit.
- Jo told the Forum that WEAG was set up to identify which types of land are best for tree planting in Scotland and to promote good practice and local processes to secure multiple benefits i.e. the “right tree in the right places”.
- She explained that the group was chaired by Andrew Barbour and that they would report, with recommendations, to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment by the end of June.
- Jo said that, in general, people were supportive of Woodland Creation and that feedback so far had been positive and very constructive. She added that there were concerns raised about productive forestry and there was a push for integration between farming and forestry.
- Jo added that regional differences meant that it wasn’t possible to have one plan for all areas.
- Jo said that Phase 1 was to ask the James Hutton Institute and Forest Research to identify how much land in Scotland was available for tree planting. This had ruled out 46% in the first phase of the study and she explained the reasons for this.
- The Forum discussed the existing target of 100,000 hectares of woodland creation over the next 10 years. The Forum also discussed the longer term target which aspired to have 25% woodland cover in Scotland and which WEAG had considered to be unhelpful.
- Keith said that people were applying this figure in different ways and that it was not intended that each region achieve or be capped at 25%. It was an aspirational figure for the whole of Scotland and at times this had not been clear.
- Phase 2 had shown a further 20% to be constrained and Phase 3 identified approximately 30% which had potential for woodland cover but with numerous caveats.
- Guy Watt asked if objectives would change depending on Rural Development programmes and Jo said that the current grant scheme wasn’t really good for agroforestry. She said she hoped that the next SRDP would encourage better unity between woodland creation and farming.
- Simon Rennie asked if there is a view on food security i.e. what will be given up for planting and Jo replied that the focus was on what the impact would be on grazing and that livestock and food production should not be massively affected.
- Stephen Garvin mentioned climate change and asked if analysis had been carried out on low carbon targets.
- Jo replied that calculations had been carried out and it was hoped that the promotion of the Woodland Carbon code would help achieve carbon sequestration.
- Jo referred the Forum to the website at www.forestry.gov.uk/weag and explained that this gave all the up to date information on WEAG’s work.
- Simon Rennie thanked Jo for her informative presentation.
- Richard Howe joined the meeting at this time.
- CREATING NEW WOODLANDS IN CENTRAL SCOTLAND – THE WOODLAND TRUST EXPERIENCE
- Tim Hall presented the vision of the Woodland Trust’s aims and beliefs in creating new woodland in Central Scotland.
- Tim explained the Trust was now trying to influence landowners towards the delivery of Woodland creation and remove the barriers such as lack of motivation, grants and attitude towards woodland creation in general.
- He explained that as part of their Inspiring/Marketing campaign the Jubilee Woods project had been a way of engaging with landowners. This very successful project had been over subscribed and cultural barriers were being overcome and engagement with land owners had been developed.
- Tim explained that landowners wishing to plant trees wanted to speak to specialists for advice, hence the introduction of the Woodland Trust Woodland Creation Adviser role. They helped and facilitated applicants and they were not competing with agents.
- Tim explained the facilitation role which included the provision of Community packs and recruitment of Woodland Creation volunteers who offer advice and guidance to community groups.
- Tim described the WTS partnership working and gave examples of work with the MOD and Sainsbury’s.
- Keith said that this overview had been fascinating and was impressed by the achievements of the marketing led approach i.e. selling an idea.
- WIAT OPPORTUNITIES
- Guy Wedderburn explained that Bob Frost, Policy Adviser, had asked him to provide input to the review of the WIAT programme. This review wanted to assess the issues around the lack of willingness of the private sector to become involved in the WIAT programme.
- Guy provided a presentation which explained his involvement with the WIAT programme in his capacity as agent for Callendar Estate.
- He told the Forum that the introduction of WIAT had provided significant opportunities for Callendar Estate such as investment in the woodland infrastructure, improved standing in the local community and led to better dialogue on a range of matters with the local authority.
- Guy said that some of the barriers identified were the time and cost of preparing applications, the complexity of the application process, the view that WIAT is targeted at social forestry, difficulty in obtaining match funding and the programme is seen as a relatively specialist area with little opportunities for small woodland owners.
- UKFS GUIDELINES – UPDATE
- Richard Howe explained that the UK Forestry Standard and guidelines are the foundation for forestry practice in the UK. He said that this document expressed the Governments approach to sustainable forest management.
- He said the UKFS is supported by a series of Guidelines which define standards and requirements and provides a basis for regulation and monitoring.
- Richard said that revision of the guidance was necessary to incorporate developments in legislation, include initiatives on climate change, incorporate advances in scientific understanding of forestry and provide an explicit statement of UKFS requirements in line with other land uses supported by the EU.
- Richard provided the Forum with a brief summary of each of the guideline booklets.
- ANY OTHER COMPETENT BUSINESS
- Keith said that the SFS Implementation plan had now been published and was available on the FC website.
- Keith said he would be interested to receive feedback/suggestions for the programme of topics for discussion at future meetings.
- Linda will circulate the current proposals and request comments.
- Simon Rennie informed everyone that Graham Buchan had decided to stand down from the Forum following his recent retirement from Glasgow & Clyde Valley Structure Plan Joint Committee. Graham’s successor, Stuart Tait, had been invited to join the Forum.
- DATE OF NEXT MEETING
- Simon confirmed that the next meeting would be held on Monday, 8 October 2012 at Silvan House, Edinburgh.
- Simon offered his thanks to both the speakers and to the Forum for their attendance and participation. The meeting was then formally closed.